Taking control of a single archer, with a single arrow, Titan Souls invites you to battle your way through is 2D pixel art world of bosses. Demanding split-second timing, impeccable aim, and lightning fast reactions, you can expect to die regularly in this entertainingly punishing game.
David vs. Goliath, Goliath, Goliath, and Goliath
It takes mere moments before Titan Souls is putting you firmly in your place as you face one of its hulking bosses. Each one dwarfs your tiny character and is easily able to kill you in a single punch, blast, or squish. Make no mistake, you are nothing to these brutes.
Do not be downhearted though, as they are equally prone to your attacks with a single blow able to end their reign of terror – but only if you hit them in the right place. Thus Titan Souls' epic fights become a fraught puzzles, as you try to work out where their weakness lies and then find a way to place your single arrow precisely on target. Miss and you have to retrieve your arrow either by walking over it or using your archer’s magical ability to suck it back towards them - leaving you prone for precious seconds.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this all sounds torturous, but it isn't thanks to the wonderful boss designs and responsive controls. From the very first area this is established, with bosses that require you to work out ways to melt the ice that encases them before landing the killing blow, or waiting for their rolling cube-form to face you so you can plant the arrow in their eye.
Hit the mark
Through all of this you must be using your rolls, shots, and retrievals perfectly, anticipating enemy movement – and it is mostly thanks to the exactness of the controls that beating the game feels at all possible. A clear pixelated graphic style helps with this too. The clarity this offers makes it easy to see every movement of the action, vital for predicting enemies’ patterns and figuring out what to do.
Things only really fall apart when you miss the mark with a shot, or if can’t work out how to kill a boss. Suddenly, this reduces Titan Souls to pure frustration as you die again and again in seemingly futile attempts to work out what to do and then execute on it.
For me this happened on the final boss of the first levels, where I had unknowingly missed the mark several times and assumed that it must have a different weakness. This was not the case though, as it was my own inaccuracy that cost me – unfortunately it took me ten curse filled attempts to arrive at this conclusion.
Remember to breath
Hugely challenging, and at times frustrating, you have to have a certain personality to really enjoy Titan Souls' punishing retro action – and if you do fit the mold you run the risk of finding its handful of areas a little too brief. But there are so few games like this I can certainly forgive its brevity – if only because if the bosses had got much harder I think I would have popped a blood vessel.